Land at Bidwell West (Houghton Regis North 2), Central Bedfordshire: Archaeological Evaluation (OASIS ID: cotswold2-317895)

Cotswold Archaeology, 2019

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https://doi.org/10.5284/1056106
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Cotswold Archaeology (2019) Land at Bidwell West (Houghton Regis North 2), Central Bedfordshire: Archaeological Evaluation (OASIS ID: cotswold2-317895) [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor] https://doi.org/10.5284/1056106

Introduction

Land at Bidwell West (Houghton Regis North 2), Central Bedfordshire: Archaeological Evaluation (OASIS ID: cotswold2-317895)

In March and April 2014, Cotswold Archaeology carried out an archaeological evaluation of farmland near Bidwell, Houghton Regis, Central Bedfordshire. The evaluation, which was commissioned by DLP Planning Consultants, acting on behalf of Bidwell Consortium, was undertaken prior to the submission of a planning application for the mixed-use development of the site. The evaluation was preceded by a geophysical survey and desk-based assessment, which identified areas of prehistoric/Roman settlement in the northern part of the site and the remains of a medieval open field system and post-medieval/modern land boundaries across the much of the proposed development area.

The earliest evidence for human activity was located on the crest of the chalk scarp in the southern part of the site and dates to the Early Neolithic. This comprised a small pit containing pottery, flint flakes, burnt hazelnut shells and charcoal. At the foot of the scarp there was a more substantial feature cut by a small ditch that provided artefactual evidence for Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age activity. Confirming geophysical survey results, the evaluation demonstrated the presence of an Iron Age and a Roman settlement at the northern edge of the site; beyond the site, these had previously been investigated as part of the evaluation for the A5/M1 Link Road. The site of a second Roman settlement was confirmed just north of Thorn Road, east of Thorn Spring.

The remains of a medieval open field system, comprising blocks of parallel furrows on varying alignments, were encountered across the northern and central parts of the site. A sequence of ditches parallel and to the south of Thorn Road, marking the edge of an area of common land, may date from the late medieval period. This open landscape was subsequently enclosed in the post-medieval and modern periods.